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Switch starts well for Gatting

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Joe Gatting

Joe Gatting in his footballing days as a striker at Brighton & Hove Albion in Sussex

Joe Gatting started his Sussex career with a bang, scoring a century against Surrey in the fifth and sixth place play-off of the Pro ARCH Trophy in Abu Dhabi.

The 21-year-old has been playing professional football with Brighton & Hove Albion for the past three years, but ended his contract in November to concentrate on playing cricket.

Gatting, the nephew of former England and Middlesex captain Mike, also played rugby union at school, but admits cricket is the sport he prefers.

“I stopped enjoying football,” he said. “I've always preferred cricket, and you have got to be happy in what you do.”

He was certainly happy tonight, after his 110 helped Sussex to a six-wicket victory in their final game of a tournament in which he did not even expect to feature.

“I wasn't really expecting to play much on this tour,” he admitted. “I just came for the experience. But I've played two games and took my chance quite well.”

He had also been asked to open the innings alongside Ed Joyce, a position with which he is not overly familiar.

“I was originally going to bat at seven,” he said. “But Chris Nash hurt his hamstring so I was given a chance at the top of the order.

“I'm not used to it, but I gave it my best shot.”

Something else to which Gatting is not used to is batting under floodlights, with the lights at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium among the best in the world.

“It was my first time under the lights,” he confirmed. “It is a bit different and took a bit of getting used to.”

However, Gatting managed to overcome the problem and played his way in until he was eventually out caught at long-on.

“It was a ball that should have gone for four,” he said. “But I was a bit too early on it and toed it.

“It may have been a bit down to lack of concentration and fatigue.”

Nevertheless, Gatting's innings will have given coach Mark Robinson plenty to think about, with the youngster only on a one-year academy deal at the moment.

It is something the batsman hopes will give him a springboard for higher honours, as he is determined to break into the first team.

He said: “I am going to keep working hard, do what I can do, and hopefully they will pick me and I will do my best.”

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